Oversight Committee

The Oversight Committee is a critical part of program operations. They are opinion leaders in their areas and provide high-level guidance for they program based on their backgrounds in venture capital, regulatory affairs, academia, technology transfer, and medicine.

  • Jim Adox, Managing Director, Venture Investors
    Jim joined Venture Investors in 2006 as a Managing Director, and heads up the Ann Arbor, Michigan office. He leverages his technical, operational and venture capital background by focusing on investment prospects in medical devices, diagnostics, and healthcare IT. Jim currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Tissue Regeneration Systems, where he was a co-founder and the Company’s first CEO. He serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of HistoSonics, a company Venture Investors spun out of the University of Michigan and led the $15M Series A financing. In addition, Jim’s serves on the Board of Directors of SkySpecs, UpTo and Netsocket, and is a Board Observer at ReShape Medical and NeuMoDx Molecular. He was previously a Board observer of LenSx (acquired by Alcon for up to $744M). Jim’s prior venture capital experience includes a combined nine years as a partner at RidgeLine Ventures and EDF Ventures. Jim was a co-investor with Venture Investors while a partner at EDF. During this time, Jim helped launch and was the CFO and a Board member of HandyLab (acquired by Becton Dickinson for $275M), and Xtera Communications (XCOM) by serving in the operating roles of CFO and General Manager until a management team was recruited. Prior to his venture capital positions, Jim had nine years operating experience both domestically and internationally. In these roles, he wore many functional hats: marketing, engineering, business development and operations. Involvement in Community & Venture Ecosystem: Executive Committee, Board of Directors, Michigan Venture Capital Association Chairman, Michigan Venture Capital Association, 2013-2015 Investment Advisory Committee, Invest Detroit Investment Advisory Committee, Huron River Ventures Fundraising Team Leader, Ann Arbor YMCA’s Annual Campaign Board Member, Ann Arbor Triathlon Club Education & Certifications: B.S., Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan M.S., Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan MBA, University of Michigan Hobbies: Jim is a competitive triathlete, and a four-time Ironman finisher. He is a Cyclocross rider and racer, and an American Birkebeiner cross-country skier. In his free time, he enjoys road biking and photography.
  • James Ashton-Miller, Ph.D., Associate Chair for Translational Research, U-M Department of Biomedical Engineering
    Dr. James Ashton-Miller is the Albert Schultz Collegiate Research Professor and Distinguished Research Scientist in the Departments of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering, and has Research Professor appointments in the Department of Internal Medicine and the School of Kinesiology, at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He is also an Associate Vice President for Research for the University of Michigan where he is responsible for research policy and its compliance programs. Dr. Ashton-Miller directs the Biomechanics Research Laboratory (http://me.engin.umich.edu/brl/) at the University of Michigan where he and his students use theoretical and experimental approaches to understand the biomechanics of unintentional injuries so they and their sequelae can be better prevented. He has authored over 250 scientific articles (ORCID #: 0000-0003-1528-2787), was awarded several patents, and graduated 30 doctoral students. He is the co-PI on an NIH R01 grant concerned with demonstrating that ACL injuries may be a material fatigue failure, so limiting the number and frequency of severe loading cycles within a given time period may be a sensible way to prevent these injuries. He and colleagues in Obstetrics & Gynecology are making good progress on understanding the pathomechanics of injuries to women during vaginal birth so they and life-long sequelae can be prevented. Likewise, with colleagues in Physical Medicine and Geriatrics, he is studying balance, the causes of fall-related injuries in the elderly and those with diabetes, and concussion. His research is also funded by several Fortune 500 companies to translate insights from his research into better product design. He is a past-President of the American Society of Biomechanics (ASB), a fellow of ASME, AIMBE, ASB, and GSA, and the winner of the 2009 ASB Giovanni Borelli award, the 2015 ASME H.R. Lissner Medal for contributions in biomechanics and bioengineering, and the 2016 Kappa Delta award from the Orthopedic Research Society and American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons for his ACL research. Dr. Ashton-Miller received a B.Sc (Hons) from Newcastle University, U.K., a MSME from M.I.T., and a Ph.D. from the University of Oslo, Norway. He is a co-owner and CTO of the Viper Tool Company, Ann Arbor.
  • Jack Ball, CEO and Board Member, Solulink
    Jack Ball is CEO and a board member at Solulink, a San Diego biotech tools companies supplying technology that enables faster and quantitative conjugation of biomolecules with higher efficiencies and yields. He is President, Tyball Associates, LLC, a consulting company bringing 21st century sales and marketing strategies that are highly capital efficient, to companies in the biotech tools space. He is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Michigan, Ross Business School in Entrepreneurial Studies. In addition he serves on the board of directors of the following seven companies: 3D Biomatrix, Biophotonics, ENT Biotech Solutions, IntelliCyt, RealBio Technology, Swift Bioscience and ViroCyt. Mr. Ball has a long and proven record for bringing life science products to market and capitalizing on existing product potential. Most recently he was Chief Commercial Officer at Accuri Cytometers where he developed a novel commercialization model that was highly capital efficient. He and the management team sold the company to Becton Dickinson for $205M in March 2011. Prior to Accuri Cytometers, he was CEO of Amnis Corporation, a venture backed technology start-up developing and selling high-end imaging flow cytometers. He has also served as Chief Commercial Officer for Molecular Probes, Inc., the world leader in reagents for cell analysis, including flow cytometry consumables. Prior to that he was with Orchid Biosciences as Sr. VP and General Manager and with Amersham Pharmacia Biotech Inc., where he rose to President, Region North America and was responsible for sales, marketing, and customer support for all products sold in North America.
  • Hugo Braun, Co-Founder, North Coast Technology Investors, LP
    Hugo Braun is a partner and co-founder of North Coast Technology Investors, a Michigan-based venture capital firm with $100 million under management. North Coast focuses on early stage investments in IT, advanced materials and medical devices. Prior to North Coast, Hugo worked in San Francisco co-managing BankAmerica's venture capital portfolio. Previously, Hugo was a management consultant with Strategic Planning Associates, a spin-off of the Boston Consulting Group based in Washington, DC. Hugo holds an M.S. in Management from the Sloan School of Management at MIT and a B.A. in Economics from Yale University.
  • Sean Chambers, Ph.D., Engineering Manager - Research, Cook Medical
    Sean Chambers, PhD, has been involved in research and external collaborations at Cook Medical (Bloomington, IN) since 2006 and assumed the role of Engineering Manager in 2011. He directs engineering teams in product development, research, and packaging. Cook Medical integrates minimally invasive medical device design, biopharmaceuticals, gene/cell therapy, and biotechnology to enhance patient safety and improve clinical outcomes. Prior to 2006, he was the Research Manager at MC3, Inc. (Ann Arbor, MI). He led the BioLungTM total artificial lung research program, which was a partnership between the University of Michigan and MC3, resulting in the formation of Novalung, GmbH. He was a visiting Lecturer in the Mechanical Engineering department at the National University of Ireland, Galway from 1998-1999. He was involved in developing the Biomedical Engineering program and the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science. Sean is currently on industry liaison committees in the department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Michigan and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. In addition, he has active involvement in the Oversight Committee for the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation Translational Partnership Program at University of Louisville, Johns Hopkins University, and University of Michigan. Dr. Chambers completed his Ph.D. in Bioengineering at the University of Michigan in 1998 and his B.S.E. in Mechanical Engineering at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in 1993. He is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and an AIMBE Fellow. He holds over 20 U.S. patents in the medical device field.
  • Renard Charity, Senior Vice-President, Fletcher-Spaght Ventures
    Renard Charity holds an MBA from Stanford's Graduate School of Business and an AB from Princeton University. Renard is a Board member of HistoSonics, the University of Virginia-Coulter Translational Research Partnership and the Visiting Nurses Association of Boston. He has also served on the Boards of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Venture Richmond and St. Christopher's School. Prior to joining Fletcher Spaght Ventures, Renard served as Boston Scientific's head of corporate strategy group and in marketing roles. He also worked at the Boston Consulting Group in the Healthcare practice and at Morgan Stanley in Merger and Acquisitions. Renard also helped General Electric do its first IPO spinout as Chief Marketing Officer of the Long Term Care Insurance division of the newly formed company, Genworth Financial.
  • Mark Cohen, M.D., Associate Professor of Surgery and Pharmacology, Director of Endocrine Surgery Research, U-M Medical School
    Dr. Mark Cohen is currently Associate Chair in Surgery for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Associate Professor of Surgery and Pharmacology, Director of the Medical School Pathway of Excellence in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Director of Endocrine Surgery Research, and a Principal Investigator in the UMCCC Translational Oncology Program at the University of Michigan. After completing a B.S. in Chemical Engineering with Honors, he completed a Howard Hughes Research Fellowship and then went on to receive his medical degree from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He then completed his general surgery residency as well as an NIH-sponsored T32 fellowship in endocrine and oncologic surgery at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. Before coming to the University of Michigan in 2012, he was Associate Professor of Surgery and Pharmacology, Vice-Chair for Research in the Department of Surgery at the University of Kansas, and on the Executive Board for the Center for Technology and Commercialization. His clinical interests include endocrine surgery, specifically thyroid surgery for benign and malignant disease, minimally invasive parathyroid surgery and adrenalectomy, as well as surgery for advanced melanomas including hyperthermic isolated limb perfusion. He is boarded by the American Board of Surgery, is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, and holds committee and executive council positions in 4 national surgery organizations. In addition to his clinical efforts, concentrated on cancer patients with endocrine tumors and melanoma requiring surgical treatment, Dr. Cohen has a lab at NCRC focused on translational targeted cancer-drug development and drug delivery systems in thyroid cancer, head and neck squamous cell cancer, adrenal cancer, melanoma and breast cancer. On campus he has worked with Fast Forward Medical Innovation and the Center for Entrepreneurship to develop new courses in Innovation for medical students, residents, fellows and surgery/pharmacology faculty. He completed a collaborative MTRAC grant recently to develop a novel natural therapeutic for improved targeted treatment of adrenocortical cancers and won the inaugural Michigan/MEDC Shark Tank. His research has lead to the creation of two pharmaceutical therapeutics companies for clinical development of his drug compounds for use in patients with advanced cancers. He has served on the Study Section Review Panel for the last 6 years on the NSF SBIR Phase 1 and Phase 2 Programs in Drug Delivery and Biomedical Devices. His research has been funded by the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the American Cancer Society, and the National Institute of Health, leading to just over 100 national presentations, 70 peer-reviewed publications, 8 book chapters, and 4 patents awarded. More information on his research can be found at:
  • Jessica DesNoyer, MBA, PhD, WW Senior Director, Global Strategic Marketing, External Innovation & Biomaterials - Spine, DePuy Synthes Companies
  • Peter Galen, Chief Innovation Officer, Hemex Health
    Peter Galen worked in medical device companies for 30 years and has released more than 50 products. He worked as an engineer, project manager, director, VP, and CEO. Peter’s experience working at all levels enables him to understand the details and the big picture, resulting in robust solutions, and a focus on quickly creating high quality products that succeed. Peter is Chief Innovation Officer at Meditopian, an early stage company looking for solutions that impact the developing world and underserved populations in general. He has also led two successful exits most recently a social venture focused on preventing blindness, Quantum Catch Corp., to an Australian non-profit. Peter also sold a company he co-founded and ran, CardioDigital, Inc., to Covidien (Tyco Healthcare). In the late 80s he gained experience in product development and manufacture in, including 1.5 years in Singapore setting up Welch Allyn’s R&D for emerging countries. Peter also managed a large cardiovascular device lab (~100 person) for Hewlett Packard. He has 16 patents issued and 15 more that are pending. Peter sits on several boards and help four universities with their translational activities. Peter has a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Case Western Reserve University and an M.S. in Electrical Engineering with a biomedical focus from the University of Washington.
  • John Janik, Ph.D., Director of Strategic Development, Stryker
    Dr. Janik received a Ph.D. in neuroscience/biomedical engineering from the Medical College of Wisconsin and Marquette University. During his academic career, John studied functional aspects of the human nervous system, focusing on the clinical use of functional imaging technology (fMRI/DTI) and its role in presurgical planning for neurosurgery. Specifically, John created quantitative methods to map the visual field onto the cortex and assess the function of the auditory cortex as well as associated functions in the cortex. John also spent time developing the pre-surgical mapping methods for use in patients to establish functional boundaries around malformations in the brain. Some of John’s work was used in a start-up company spun out of the Medical College of Wisconsin (Prism Clinical Imaging, Milwaukee, WI) centered on building pre-surgical tools for assessment brain function in neurologically impaired patients. In 2005, John joined Stryker's Advanced Technology Development group where he worked on developing various neurotechnology platforms. John led extensive technical programs from concept to feasibility in the areas of nerve monitoring, EEG, and implantable neuromodulators. In 2010, John joined Stryker Incubation of Medical Technology (IMT) where he is the Director of Strategic Development focused on the development of business strategy and developing customer-focused solutions. Over the years John has over 25 publications related to granted intellectual property, research publications, and has been invited to speak at several events. These publications cover John’s experience and expertise in neurologic sciences, neurosurgery, MEMS, neuromodulation, image and signal processing, robotic surgery, healthcare solutions innovation, and building start-up companies. He has served on boards for companies (Avegant, Inc., PS Medical), President of Wireless Integrated Microsysetms ERC Industrial Advisory Board at University of Michigan, and he was a Visiting Scholar at the University of Michigan in the Solid State Electronics Department.
  • Russ King, President & Managing Partner, MethodSense
    Russ King is the president and managing partner of MethodSense, a life science consulting firm with offices in the US and Europe. King works with medical device, biotech and pharmaceutical companies to develop quality, regulatory and technology solutions. King’s experience spans compliance operations, quality support and risk remediation. He has consulted for many global medical device and healthcare enterprises, including IBM, St. Jude Medical, Teva and Intertek. He works with organizations to develop business processes that meet quality and regulatory requirements. King’s skill set has become increasingly important as more companies integrate technology into their businesses and products. King is adept at simplifying complex concepts, and he is instrumental in helping clients understand the risk involved with FDA compliance. His knowledge and powerful communication skills guide clients to operational efficiency that reduces risk and can save thousands of dollars.
  • Bryce Pilz, Director of Licensing, University of Michigan Office of Technology Transfer
    As the Director of Licensing for U-M Tech Transfer, Bryce supports the Licensing Staff in working with faculty from around campus to commercialize inventions created at U-M. Bryce works closely with partners from other entrepreneurship-related programs around campus to support technology venture creation and entrepreneurship at U-M.Prior to assuming a leadership role at U-M Tech Transfer, Bryce was faculty at U-M Law School where he co-founded the Entrepreneurship Clinic and taught courses related to IP Strategy and Venture Capital. Bryce previously practiced law at Kirkland & Ellis LLP in the firm’s intellectual property practice and clerked for the Hon. Amy J. St. Eve in the Northern District of Illinois. He has also served as Associate General Counsel at the University of Michigan, where he worked with the Office of Technology Transfer on startups and licensing. Bryce has served as a National Science Foundation I-Corps mentor and a Techstars Mentor. Bryce received his JD from Michigan Law in 2000 and his BS in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan College of Engineering in 1997.
  • Danny Sachs, M.D., Associate Director of Entrepreneurship & Medicine, University of Minnesota Medical Devices Center Innovation Fellows Program
    Danny is a physician entrepreneur. He co-founded or founded several device companies that have attracted venture capital funding, including Respicardia, Amphora, Mainstay Medical, and Kspine. Mainstay completed its IPO on the NYSE Euronext Exchange in 2014. He serves as Associate Director of Entrepreneurship in Medicine for the Innovation Fellows Program at The University of Minnesota Medical Devices Center.Danny was previously a venture capital investor with Investor Growth Capital and Spray Venture Partners, and served as a director on the boards of ten health care companies. He was an Instructor in Medicine in the Division of Emergency Medicine at Harvard Medical School.He earned BA and MD degrees from the University of Michigan, and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
  • Lonnie Shea, Ph.D., William and Valerie Hall Chair, Biomedical Engineering Professor, Biomedical Engineering
    Lonnie Shea is the Chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Michigan, which is joint between the College of Engineering and the School of Medicine. He received his PhD in chemical engineering and scientific computing from U-M in 1997, working with Professor Jennifer Linderman. He then served as a postdoctoral fellow with then ChE Professor David Mooney in the Department of Biologic and Materials Science at the U-M Dental School. Shea was recruited to Northwestern University’s Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering and was on the faculty from 1999 to 2014. In 2014, Shea was recruited back to the University of Michigan as chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering, with his recruitment leading to the endowment of the chair position by William and Valerie Hall. He is an internationally recognized researcher at the interface of regenerative medicine, drug and gene delivery, and immune tolerance, whose focus is controlling the local microenvironment for directing tissue growth or regeneration. His projects include ovarian follicle maturation for treating infertility, islet transplantation for diabetes therapies, nerve regeneration for treating paralysis, autoimmune diseases and allogeneic cell transplantation, and cancer diagnostics. He is also developing and applying systems biology approaches to molecularly dissect tissue formation and identify key drivers of normal and abnormal growth. He is currently PI or co-PI on 7 NIH grants (5R01’s, 1 R21, and 1 project of a P50). Shea has published more than 210 manuscripts, and has numerous inventions to his credit, among them a cellular assay with which he can measure the activity of numerous transcription factors within the cell that reveal key signaling pathways as cells differentiate. He leads the University-wide Regenerative Medicine Collaborative, and is the PI for the Coulter Foundation Translational Research grants committee at the University of Michigan. He served as director of Northwestern’s NIH Biotechnology Training Grant and was a member of its Institute for BioNanotechnology in Medicine. He is a fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), a standing member of the Biomaterials and Biointerfaces study section at NIH, and a member of the editorial boards for Molecular Therapy, Biotechnology and Bioengineering, and Drug Delivery and Translational Research.
  • Kate Taylor, PhD, Global Innovation Program Manager, Global Technology, Boston Scientific
  • Alan T. Wright, M.D., MPH, Chief Medical Officer, Roche Diagnostics Corporation
    As the Chief Medical Officer for Roche Diagnostics Corporation, Alan serves as clinical spokesperson and lead counsel on everything from the policy to the practice of diagnostic medicine. With his extensive history in the managed care, pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, Alan is well-versed in the changing landscape of healthcare including emerging trends and technologies, regulatory and legislative hurdles, payer challenges and the growing relevance of diagnostics with the advent of outcome-based reimbursement.Alan’s Medical and Scientific Affairs organization serves as the clinical partner to Roche customers by managing both Investigator Initiated and Roche Sponsored Studies, scientific consulting, advisory boards, PACE and CEU education, an on-site applications lab, Visiting Scientist Program and Fellows Program. By cultivating relationships with other industry thought leaders, Alan helps align Roche’s diagnostic development to the company’s focus in infectious disease, cardiology, oncology, women’s health, inflammation and blood screening. Alan brings with him medical and scientific leadership experience from his work at Miraca Life Sciences, Caris Life Sciences, Star Pharmaceuticals, Caremark, Inc. and AdvancePCS. He earned his medical degree from University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and a masters of public health degree from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and Hygiene.
  • Licensing Representative(s) from U-M Office of Technology Transfer (OTT has one vote)